Since its arrival in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has amassed a large number of high-quality games in practically every genre, and the RPG genre is no exception. In no particular order, we’ve included our top selections for the console’s important role-playing titles below. Switch’s library will continue to grow, therefore this list will change over time.
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Where, on the other hand, is Witcher 3? What happened to Dragon’s Dogma? What happened to Games X, Y, and Z? Given the Switch’s large catalog, we believe that spreading out the genres a little allows games from all genres to breathe a little easier. As a result, this collection avoids the ‘action’ prefix branch of RPGs in favor of a more classic role-playing feel. The debates about layered categories, granular sub-genres, side-genres, -likes, -lites, -like-lites, and so on will never end.
1. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)
Monolith Soft, who also created the previous two Xenoblade Chronicles titles and the Baten Kaitos games for the GameCube, has created a large, sweeping RPG in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The team also assisted Nintendo in the creation of the universe of Breath of the Wild, so the credentials are undeniable. You’ll travel over a vast open environment populated by Titans, huge living beings capable of housing entire civilizations on their bodies. You’ll encounter a diverse cast of characters, complete a number of objectives, and save the world along the way. It’s Monolith Soft doing what they do best, albeit with some of the series’ problems still there. But this is another Xenoblade treasure, and a Switch must-have.
Honorable Mention (Honorable Mention):
Torna: The Legend of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a massive standalone DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
2. Undertale (Switch eShop)
Undertale is a clever and well-designed game that knows exactly what makes a decent RPG work, to the point where it can upend expectations and provide something that’s almost satirical in nature. You descend into the abyss and discover a witty universe full of entertaining activities. You’ll date a skeleton, dance with a robot, and create delectable meals with a half-fish woman. Alternatively, you can do none of the above — Undertale takes pride in allowing you to make your own decisions.
It manages to surprise you in a variety of ways, and even if it doesn’t appear to have much on the surface, Undertale has a lot more going for it. Characters that are well-written, a genre-bending battle system, and a great music all contribute to the game’s success.
3. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (Switch)
While Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition does not make any significant changes to the original game, it does bring together nearly all of the game’s exclusive content into one convenient package. Because of how well it works in both docked and handheld modes, it’s impossible to suggest this JRPG classic on any other device than Nintendo Switch, thanks to some better visuals in both cutscenes and gameplay. There’s never been a better time to catch up on this classic if you’ve missed it.
4. Battle Chasers: Nightwar (Switch)
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a pleasant slice of JRPG with aesthetics inspired by World of Warcraft, Divinity: Original Sin, and old Diablo adventures, despite a title that sounds like it came from a name generator. It creates its own assertive, colorful personality out of predictable materials. It has a freshness that belies the age-old principles at its foundation, and it doesn’t waste your time with filler thanks to its approachable comic style and a number of neat mechanisms that promote exploration. In the end, it’s the same old theme – numbers rise! – but it’s infused with a contagious energy and meticulous attention to detail that breathes new life into tired cliches.
5. Child of Light: Ultimate Edition (Switch eShop)
Child of Light is a stunning role-playing game created using the same UbiArt Framework that brought us Rayman Origins and Legends. You take on the role of Aurora, who is on a mission to save her ailing father and former kingdom. There’s also co-op, with one person playing as Igniculus, the gleaming little ball of light.
The word ‘light’ in the title sums it up nicely: you get game mechanics usually reserved for large RPG epics in a compact package that’s as lovely to look at as it was when it first came out. It’s a shame to witness framerate issues – however infrequent they may be – but they’re not enough to detract from this enjoyable experience.
6. Final Fantasy VII (Switch eShop)
Final Fantasy VII is the type of game that speaks for itself, a touchstone of game design that helped to set the standard for RPGs for years. If you enjoy RPGs, it goes without saying that you should give Final Fantasy VII a try, as it is an experience unlike any other in many respects. That said, it’s the kind of thing that has been exceeded in almost every way by games that have taken the themes it presented and developed on them in a variety of new and more intriguing ways. Final Fantasy VII is a relic of its time, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be revered; if anything, it should be respected more.
7. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild was the ideal launch game for selling Nintendo Switch systems. It took a long time to develop and was more than a year late, but the wait was well worth it because it’s one of the best role-playing games ever developed.
The enormous open-world RPG has a lot to offer. Adventure and puzzles abound in every corner and cranny of the fantastic gaming universe. And, while it adds a touch of craftsmanship to the well-worn themes, it’s not overbearing and blends in seamlessly.
8. Disco Elysium – The Final Cut
Disco Elysium is quite likely the best and most ambitious RPG of all time, telling the story of a single murder that you, an inebriated investigator, must solve. Its writing is just incredible, and the freedom it provides you to approach issues in your own unique way is unrivaled.
It won’t appeal to everyone, given how wordy it is, but the Switch is an excellent platform for playing it, allowing you to jump in for quick sessions as you try to figure out what’s going on in Revachol’s rotting docks.
9. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
The latest installment in the famous Fire Emblem game is a total blast, with endless replayability. You take on the role of a professor at an officers’ academy, and you must rapidly decide which of three houses to teach. That decision will lead you down a path with vastly varied tales, but all of them have two gameplay elements in common. There will be deadly strategic fights with turn-based combat, as well as leisure time to get to know a large cast of memorable people. This is a game that you may lose yourself in for hours.